Health Officials Warn of Spike in RSV Cases

Texas health officials are warning families about a dramatic spike in the number of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) cases in the state.

RSV is a respiratory infection that affects a person's lungs and is very contagious.

In both Tarrant and Dallas counties, the number of positive cases since the beginning of December has nearly tripled.

"It's easily spread from people sneezing, coughing – and also sneezing, and the material is on the counter. That that will stay alive for four to five hours," said Dr. Richard Honaker, with The Medical Center of Plano.

Honaker said the virus can be especially dangerous for young children and babies.

"In little ones, it's generally the ones under two years of age that have the most difficulty with it. It generally starts with coughing, upper respiratory congestion, runny nose," he said.

"Babies get it deeper in their lungs and it's basically a type of pneumonia. It's a viral pneumonia," Honaker added.

Some North Texas hospitals are reporting nearly half their beds are dedicated to children with RSV.

Coppell mother Kaci Balla said her six-month-old daughter, Bailey, came down with the virus just within the past two weeks.

"It was Friday afternoon when she came home from daycare. They said she'd been coughing a lot that day and I noticed her cough was pretty bad," Balla said.

Shortly after that, Bailey began wheezing and had a low-grade fever.

"It was scary to hear her struggling to breathe so much," she said.

Honaker said once a person has RSV, because it's a virus, there is not a lot doctors can do but treat the symptoms and wait for a person to get better.

Balla said Bailey had to go to a clinic three days in a row for doctors to monitor her, and after a week she began to improve.

Doctors said the best way to prevent getting RSV is hand-washing, good hygiene and wiping down often-touched surfaces.

Balla said she's just grateful her daughter is feeling better.

"We got through it, so it wasn't as scary as it could've been, I guess. But I definitely want to see her go through it again," she said.

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